Why Give? – Tithes, Offerings & First Fruits – 30 Bible Basics

This entry is part 26 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics
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Under the Old Testament laws, there were different kinds of offerings like voluntary offerings, meal offerings, fire offerings, drink offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, burnt offerings and the others. However with the death of Jesus, we see that He was the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins.

giving building

However in the New Testament, we do not give for the forgiveness of sins but instead as a token of gratitude of what God has done in our lives.

None of this is to be followed a rule but it is what we choose to do for what He has done in our lives. And most of all we cannot give to God what He has not first given to us.

Everything we have is His. Therefore giving must be the easiest thing a believer does.

Here are few areas that we can honor God in our finances.

Tithes

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven  And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

Malachi 3:10

Some argue that Tithes were an OT teaching. However, what we miss is that Jesus also taught that in Matthew 5:20, For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is true that in the law people counted themselves as righteous if they gave their ten percent. But certainly our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and the scribes.

In no way does it mean that we are not to pay tithes. It is a warning not to be religious in our lifestyle and it includes giving.

Tithing is mentioned by Jesus Christ Himself as a part of the practice of the Mosaic Law.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices– mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law– justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former (Tithing).”  Matthew 23:23

Jesus says it clearly, “Yes, you should not neglect justice, mercy and faithfulness.  But you should also not neglect giving the tithe.”

Hebrews 7, where it describes Abraham’s relationship to Christ draws a parallel between Abraham’s tithe and his acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty.

Tithing in Malachi Teaches Three Basic Reasons

1. Food in the House of God. Your finances bless the ministry of the house of God. You help the Church to do more and reach out to more people in knowing Jesus.

2. It opens heavens. Tithing is not about money but your faith and faithfulness. It touches the heart of God that there is nothing that you won’t give back to Him.

3. It releases God’s blessing over your life in different ways even to your generations to come.

How Much?

Remember we mentioned above – exceed traditions!

When in Canada, I noticed that the minimum tip to a waiter there is 15%. It made me think that we cannot treat God any less. Allow God to lead you on how much you should tithe.

You may know of Mr. William Colgate. Yes, I’ve loved using the Colgate toothpaste for this one reason. William Colgate arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10 percent to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20 percent. Then a triple tithe, a four fold one, 50 percent – finally he was giving 90 percent and living on the 10.

Pastor Samhwan Kim of Korea also makes the following observation about two very wealthy men in his book,  “J. D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and Carnegie (1835-1919) were tithe-giving Christians who followed Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They gained much of the world’s wealth and used them for God’s work all over the world.”

Paula Ryan a non-Christian writer states, “In fact, some people who tithe eventually discover they can effortlessly give away 90% of their income and live comfortably on the remaining 10%.  John D. Rockefeller experienced this joy.”

First Fruit

“The best of all first fruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest’s; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house.”

Ezekiel 44:30

Israel in the Old Testament became prosperous through their faithfulness in giving to God. You can see that even today around the world there is a great financial blessing upon many of the Jewish Community. First fruits are simply the giving God of the first of your fruits on a tree or the first lamb or a calf that is born.

In today’s world it would be you first salary or the first promotion you receive. Now please remember non of these are laws but your willful giving to honor God even in your finances.

I remember few months ago my sister got a job at Oracle. After joining her I asked her about salary and she was excited to tithe. I reminded her that she lived all these years without the salary and challenged her on giving God the entire salary for that month as it would not make a difference anyway. Later I was happy to know through mom that she willfully gave away every bit she got in the first salary to God. Now I know this is not practical with everyone.

And the same with the increase you receive in a promotion. If you’ve always earned 10,000 and from next month you get a increase of 2000, the first time you get your increase, give that 2000 to God. And give joyfully!

Offerings

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6:38

I honor & encourage the fact that the tithes need to go into a Holy Spirit-filled Church that God has planted you in. However you can give your first fruits or a portion of your offerings to a ministry or an individual that serves the body of Christ.

The only condition of giving from the Bible is to do cheerfully, “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerfulgiver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 Don’t do it for a reward but do it because you love God and want to obey His word. Don’t give to get but give because God first gave – even His only begotten Son.

Last but not the least - It is easy to give in abundance but let us learn to give in our need. Remember the widow in the Bible who gave what she had left? Luke 21: 1-4 A faithful giver is good but God is looking for crazy givers in this generation. I pray that you and I will be that one!

Here are few verses to claim, pray, meditate and study:

2 Cor 8:9, 2 Cor 9:7, Luke 6:38, Ezek. 44:30, Mal. 3:10,11, Deut. 28:8, Gen 14:18, Lev 27:30, 1 Sam 2:8, Psa 112:1-3,  Eccles 5:19, Prov 19:17, Prov 22:4

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord,

Now that you show me the truth about giving in the Word help me to give beyond what I have so far. I want to honor You even with my finances. Help me to be a blessing to my church, leaders and to the needy around me.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:7

Time to act now!

Next in the series: Fellowship of the Believers

 

Series Navigation<< Serving the Body of Christ – Who, How & 4 CheckPointsHow Important is the Fellowship of Believers? >>
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